Russian Enamel



    Russia, Veliky Ustyug

    second half of the 18th century

    Copper; glazed enamel with trims, enamel lacquer enamel lacquer

    15.1 х 19 7 cm



    Rectangular tray on four legs has raised upturns with jagged edge and chamfered corners entirely covered with white enamel with matrix-embossed straps fused into it. In the centre of the tray there is a picture of a double-headed eagle under a crown, with a sceptre and an orb. The picture is surrounded on the four sides by repeated compositions with an antique plot (seated male and female figures, one of them holding a laureate wreath, surrounded by two eagles). The  pictures of girandoles are in the corners. Mmetal straps are covered with enamel lacquer - yellow, green, blue and red-violet.


    A peculiar and unparalleled event in the enamellist art of the middle - the second half of the 18th century was creative work of Veliky Ustyug master craftsmen, where the art of enamel work on metal was thriving as early as the 17th century. Objects, all covered in navy, blue, green and most often white enamel, decorated with matrix embossed straps, often covered with coloured enamel lacquer of yellow, green or red-violet colours that make various patterns and miniature silhouette images were the hallmark of the city masters. A special place is held by enamel and niello factory owned by merchants Afanasy and Stepan Popov that existed in Veliky Ustyug from 1761 to 1776. It employed more than thirty masters, who, even after the factory was closed as a result of a fire, continued fulfilling orders working at home. Failure to obey the Senate's order on mandatory marking of products often does not allow us to refer a certain object to the Popovs' factory, although there are no doubts about it being produced by Veliky Ustyug master craftsmen (See: Russian enamel of the 12th - early 20th century from the State Hermitage collection. L., 1987).